Nvidia Quadro Graphics Platform Fine-Tunes Medical Imaging

Nvidia unveils its Quadro 2000D diagnostic imaging platform to bring about timely diagnoses and to be able to detect subtle abnormalities in medical images.

Nvidia has introduced its Quadro 2000D parallel-computing graphics platform, which will allow medical professionals to obtain more timely diagnoses using medical images.

The $599 2000D is built on the Nvidia CUDA (code-named Fermi) parallel-computing architecture, which all of the company's GPUs now incorporate.

Compared with the previous generation of Nvidia GPUs, Fermi has more than twice the amount of graphics cores, allowing a greater number of pixels to be processed within a certain amount of time, Adam Scraba, Nvidia product manager for midrange and entry Quadro products, wrote in an email to eWEEK.

"In the case of diagnostic imaging, this means radiologists can apply more complicated image processing on patient images for things like tumor segmentation, as an example," he said. "Even simple patient image manipulations like panning and zooming become smoother, crisper and faster-all with the goal of helping provide health care professionals with the ability to make quicker, more confident diagnoses."

In October, Nvidia unveiled the Quadro 2000 and Quadro 600, which were also built on the Fermi architecture.

What makes the 2000D an effective diagnostic-imaging platform are the ability to manipulate large gray-scale patient images up to 10 megapixels and detect subtle abnormalities or distortions in images with up to 4,096 levels of gray-scale tones, according to Scraba.

In addition, the 2000D features two DVI (digital video interface) connectors. "Dual digital video interface connectors drive two monochrome 5-megapixel [displays] at a time for radiologists to do comparison studies (a typical diagnostic use case) or a single 10-megapixel mammography display using the bandwidth of both DVI connectors," Scraba said.

The 2000D adheres to the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) standard for monitor calibration. "The DICOM standard exists to define how gray-scale imagery should be presented," Scraba explained. "Since monitor tonal characteristics change over time and vary between even the same models-and radiologists/doctors need to find very subtle clues in patient imagery-there is a clear need to calibrate monitors to certain standards."

In designing the 2000D, Nvidia aimed to satisfy the concerns of the diagnostic imaging and PACS (picture archiving and communication systems) markets to be able to confidently make diagnoses while examining large gray-scale slices of imaging data, according to Scraba. Other considerations included imaging speed and reliability of both the images and the hardware and software generating them.

"The importance of offering a standard diagnostic platform is that medical ISVs [independent software vendors] and companies building turnkey diagnostic imaging systems have to qualify a workstation and related hardware across a suite of displays and applications," Scraba said. "They want a standard imaging 'workhorse.' We built the Quadro 2000D to be that imaging workhorse."

Announced on March 14, the 2000D also features Nvidia's Mosaic Display Technology, allowing doctors to span images across multiple high-resolution panels or projectors and maintain quality of performance. In fact, the Quadro 2000D can project to up to eight displays from one system.

Nvidia SLI Multi-OS technology allows the 2000D to project images from multiple OS environments at the same time, including Windows and Linux. Physicians can also view images in stereoscopic 3D quality with 3D Vision Pro, Nvidia reports.

The 2000D powers Dome diagnostic medical displays from NDS Surgical Imaging and Agfa Impax EE PACS (picture archiving and communication system) workstations. Siemens Healthcare also uses the Quadro technology in its 3D ultrasound imaging products.

"Nvidia technology combined with our 3D ultrasound system gives diagnostic imaging professionals the ability to create the most stunning 3D images of the fetus," said Barbara Del Prince, global segment manager of obstetrics and gynecology for Siemens Healthcare, in a statement. "3D Vision enables us to provide a more immersive, realistic visual experience, and the Nvidia Quadro 2000D delivers the graphics performance and connectivity we need."